We are the Diocese of Leeds: getting ready for our annual Boxing Day pilgrimage

This is the final film in our year-long campaign to tell our story here in the Diocese of Leeds and this week we visited Ripon Cathedral on Boxing Day morning as the Dean was preparing for the annual traditional pilgrimage to Fountains Abbey.

This is an important day in Ripon Cathedral’s calendar and last year over 1,000 modern day pilgrims followed in the footsteps of those thirteen monks who, on the day after Christmas Day, in 1132 set out from Ripon and walked the four miles to a deserted valley by the River Skell and started their own community.

That community was Fountains Abbey and the annual Boxing Day Pilgrimage from Ripon Cathedral to the atmospheric ruins has become a Christmas tradition for many.

Said the Dean, the Very Revd John Dobson: “Today many people will come because they want a Boxing Day walk for their family, but others will come as pilgrims to follow in the footsteps of those monks in 1132.

“We, as a cathedral, have a ministry to all people across the whole region. This Cathedral is here for everyone. God is here for them, “ he added.

This year the walk will be led by Dean John and the Bishop of Huddersfield, the Rt Revd Jonathan Gibbs.

The event begins with a Eucharist in the cathedral at 9.30am and the pilgrimage will leave from the forecourt around 10.15am.

The route leads out of the city along the River Skell and through the Studley Royal Deer Park and on to the National Trust site at Fountains Abbey where it ends with a carol service by the Stray Brass Ensemble and a glass of mulled wine in the cellarium of the ancient monastery. The walk and entrance to Fountains Abbey is free to pilgrims and all are welcome to join in.

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